New Legislation a Demand for Transparency in Death of Khashoggi
New York City—In response to the introduction of legislation requiring the director of national intelligence to submit an unclassified report to Congress on the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, the U.S. resident and journalist targeted by the government of Saudi Arabia for his public criticism of the kingdom’s repression, Human Rights First’s Rob Berschinski issued the following statement:
“President Trump has made clear that he values the word of foreign dictators over the judgement of U.S. intelligence professionals. Since his administration rejected congressional calls to name those responsible for Khashoggi’s murder, Congress is right to demand that the intelligence community provide in unclassified form its assessment of those responsible, so the American people can judge for themselves. A world in which journalists and dissidents can be murdered at the whim of political leaders is a world in which no person, of any nationality, is safe. Full credit to members of the Senate for continuing to demonstrate that there can be no alternative to a full accounting for Khashoggi’s killing.”
Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR), Heinrich (D-NM), Reed (D-RI), Harris (D-CA), and Coons (D-DE) introduced legislation requiring the director of national intelligence to produce an unclassified report, within 30 days of the law’s enactment, that would identify those who “carried out, participated in, ordered, or were otherwise complicit in or responsible for the death of Jamal Khashoggi.” On February 8, the White House announced that President Trump refused to comply with a congressional mandate under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act requiring the administration to make a formal determination on those it found responsible for Khashoggi’s death. It was widely reported that the U.S. intelligence community believes with high certainty that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is directly implicated in the October 2, 2018 murder of the Saudi dissident and U.S. resident.
For more information on Khashoggi’s murder and the U.S. response thus far, read Human Rights First’s new fact sheet, No Justice for Jamal.